Sunday, October 28, 2012

my "a" race for 2012: part 2 | "melbourne memoirs"

We were blessed with beautiful, near-perfect weather that Spring day, a stark contrast to the wet and dreary condish that hit the city in the last few days leading up to the Medibank Melbourne Marathon 2012. The temperature during my race was an average of 16-ish degrees with the sun shining on us all the way through.

Mini and I made our way together down Batman Avenue, right near the Rod Laver Arena (note to self: I gotta gotta gotta return one day for the Australian Open.). We started off slow, partly because we wanted to take our time with the initial warm-up steps and partly because our Malaysian bodies were still a tad frozen from the cold 3 degrees at flagoff! Anyway, after about 1K I told Mini to go on ahead because I knew that with her current fitness level she could maintain a pace fast enough for a sub-4:30 finish.

I, on the other hand, had promised myself to take it easy. Considering the two-week hiatus from running no thanks to a nasty thigh injury—which meant my longest training run for this was just a 22K—as well as the flu bug I picked up just 50 hours before flagoff, I refused to pressure myself too much. Kept repeating in my head that all I wanted was to finish this in good health and so I depended more on feeling rather than my Garmin.

After the first 5K, I felt surprisingly relaxed. Glanced down at my watch and was a little shocked at my paceonly aimed to run at 6:45mpk but found that I’d been running at 6:20mpk! Had to keep on slowing down whenever I peeked at my watch after that, because I knew that going too fast in the first half will definitely burn me out in the later stages. 

The cheer squads in Melbourne were nothing short of amazing.
These signs were my favourite  ;)  BTW, some dude got so excited 
that while trying to hi-five one of these ladies, he actually
backfisted my chest! Ouch. (pic courtesy of

My strategy for the whole race was to take it 5K at a time in no more than 35 minutes each chunk—just like I did at NYC Marathon 2011 in  November. And, remembering my experince at Vancouver Marathon in May, I knew that I had to run all the way for at least 15K (save at the water stations every 3 klicks) before moving on to my run/walk combo so as to not mess up my rhythm.

By the time I reached KM 15, my legs still felt good so I decided to just continue running non-stop until at least the halfway point. It was also at about this juncture when I realised that if I maintained whatever I was doing, I could clock in a Halfie PB. Focused my energy towards this goal and went for it without speeding up too much. Happy to hit 21.1K at 2:16:36—3.5 minutes faster than my previous PB!  :)  

The halfway mark was also the point where I remember feeling absolutely serene with my surroundings. Beaconsfiled Parade/Ormond Esplanade/Marine Parade/Jacka Blvd by the beach was truly a gorgeous setting, one that we were lucky to tread for a whole 15 klicks or so. There was just something about that place that kept my body going while allowing my mind to be totally at ease.

Still smiling at the 20K mark  =D

As I approached St Kilda Marina, I was greeted by a rare sight, one that’s definitely a first for me for any of the races that I’ve taken part in. Imagine seeing bright bursts of colours moving wildly in the sky above you courtesy of tandem skydivers. SUPER COOL STUFF. This vision brought me back to my own memories of skydiving in California and British Columbia four years ago, and somehow gave me a surge of brand-new energy at KM 24 and for that I must say a big, fat thanks to Skydive The Beach Melbourne. 

By the time I hit KM 26 (yup, totally surprised myself by running non-stop for this long—9km more than NYC’11!), I told myself that I’d better start with my run/walk strategy before my legs got too fatigued. Maintained a 900m/100m run/walk combo up to KM 32 when my legs and lower back started feeling tired, after which I changed this to 850m/150m combo. 

Passed by two inspirational golden-aged gentlemen at different times
in the last 10K, and the sight of the both of them journeying on slowly to conquer
the grueling 42.2K distance helped to eradicate those evil negative voices that 

wanted me to just stop or slack off—if they can do this, so can I!

When the going got tough after KM 34, I focused on getting from one distance marker to another, speeding up in the last 60m or so of every KM before taking walk breaks. The good news is that I did not hit The Wall at all, and I was also especially stoked that my left thigh, the thing that sidelined my running for three weeks in August, was absolutely pain-free! 

By the time we got to the pretty Royal Botanic Gardens, however, my inner left ankle started giving me problems (note: it was the most sore amongst all the post-race pains with my lower back being a close second), along with my left gluteus minimus/medius, and left calf. Learning from experience, I sacrificed some time throughout the final 10K’s by stopping every 2K or so to stretch all these areas out because I knew that if I didn’t do this, I might cramp up just like I did during the last mile of Vancouver’12. 

The cruel elevations at KM 36 and again at KM 39 forced me to take longer walk breaks but upon seeing the “40 KM” marker, I switched gear and started speeding up steadily. Once I hit Flinders Street for the second time that day, though, I slowed down a little right near my favourite Melbourne landmark, the Flinders Street Station, as I knew there was a priceless camwhoring opportunity here, hehe. 

The camwhoring moment I'd been waiting for all morning  =P

After that, it was serious business all the way as I sped down Wellington Parade South, Jolimont Road, and Brunton Avenue. With the Melbourne Cricket Ground aka The 'G right in front of me, I dug out my Jalur Gemilang and held it tight as I sprinted down the running track on the historic cricket ground. 

As I crossed the finishing gantry with the Malaysian flag flying high above me, I couldn’t help feeling astounded at the timing shown on my Garmin. Four hours and forty-nine minutes plus change. I actually finished my Full Marathon #6—the most challenging marathon campaign for me as yet—almost nine whole minutes faster than NYC’11! 

An unexpected PB at an unbelievably picturesque race. It’s gonna be pretty hard to top this in 2013, but who knows what the future will bring  ;)  

Finishing off the last few steps of my sixth Full Marathon at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground aka The 'G. Home to both the 1956 Summer Olympics
and the 2006 Commonwealth Games, it is the tenth largest stadium
in the world, the largest in Australia as well as the largest stadium for playing 

cricket. To complete a race at such an iconic landmark is truly surreal.



Thank you to my mates who believed in me and helped me through the tough times back in August, as well as those who left sweet supporting messages before my Melbourne Marathon. If any of you are contemplating this race in the future, I’d say stop thinking and start planning! Sure, there were some shortcomings (eg cups ran out at the later stages of the race, forcing people to catch water by cupping their hands together) but overall you will not be disappointed, I promise  :)

Also, I must give major snaps to the good ol’ treadmill. I know I have dissed you in the past, but now I know and believe in the power of you  =P

Last but not least, I must give the highest praise to The Almighty for being with me every step of the way throughout my journey to Melbourne. I’m extremely thankful that I chose the following mantras on that 14th October morning: repeats of  "Bismillahirrahmanirrahim" and "Allahu Akbar" to the beat of my footsteps

1Malaysia 3PB's  :)
Me with Alexis & Mini, the awesome 4:15 ladies
Mini, Azhar & I. We friggin' did it!
I had no doubt that the both of you would
absolutely smash this one!!
SeƱorita G & The 'G

my "a" race for 2012: part 1 | “pre-marathon blues”

When I toyed with the idea of running Melbourne back in June, honestly it stemmed from the slight bummerama aftertaste from missing my second sweet n’ sublime sub-5 finish by a mere, cruel 29 seconds at the immensely gorgeous Vancouver Marathon in May.

Started training using a brand-new 18-week programme in late June, which had me doing 4 runs—Tuesday intervals, Thursday tempos, and a mix of a shorter LSD plus a longer one on Saturday and Sunday—and 2 CrossFit sessions weekly with only one day of rest on Wednesdays.

This may sound like a LOT on paper, but two weeks into it I got into the groove and really enjoyed training even though some days felt like I was dragging a dead body along in my running gear.

Anyway, the weekend before Ramadhan I did a hilly 12K night race with a fever in my system and whaddya know… This stressed my muscles so much that I somehow picked up an injury on my upper left leg.

That's what my weekly running log looked likeabsolutely zero runs from 1st to 24th August

My monthly totals.
I logged 147K in September (not visible in this shot) + 185K in October 2011,
the two months leading up to NYC'11 in November.
And earlier this year, I did 107K in March + 185K in April,
the two months leading up to Vancouver'12 in May.
A very sad contrast to August and September this year, before Melbourne'12 in October.

Rested for three days before cramming three runs in three days after that, my version of a big bang before welcoming the first day of the fasting month. The pain in my adductor and hamstring had, by this time, moved to my left quads and I decided to rest further.

But us runners can never be held down, not even with an injury. I continued my training the following week, just running through the pain. This was a-okay at first, but after two weeks the soreness had intensified and my physio demanded me to cease my running.

What was supposed to be a week-long rest eventually became a three-week hiatus just two months before the marathon and I was crushed. Bummerama slowly crept back into my mental, and my morale hit rock bottom.

There goes my dream of a 4:30-ish finish.

Heck, I wasn’t even sure that I could even complete the whole 26.2 miles.

At this point, I was cursing at myself for signing up.


It was the eve of the Melbourne Marathon. As I gathered all my chosen ammunitions for the impending “battle” the following day, I thought to myself, “What the heck am I doing? My head is heavy, my nose is runny, my body temperature is higher than normal.

Gee, as if the three-week absence from running in August wasn’t challenge enough. Hmm, let’s bring along the spare 21K bib that I have… just in case.”

Still can't believe I managed to brainwash Azhar aka Superhuman to do
an on-the-spot registration for the Full Marathon during racepack collection  ;)

My acclimatisation run in Melbourne at the gorgeous
Koonung Creek Trail. Little did I know that I was gonna pick up 

flu bug that night, just 50 hours before flagoff  :/

After everything was all packed, I downed some flu meds with Berocca and went to bed. Not unlike other nights before a race, I could not get a decent shut-eye and the next thing I knew, it was time to get up.

It was a chilly morning, and slight drizzles greeted us outside the door. Thankfully, the sky cleared up once we approached the Melbourne Cricket Ground aka The ‘G, the location of bag dropoff and, more importantly, our finishing gantry.

I felt surprisingly calm that morning, and tried my best to reassure Mini that she’d do alright in her very first cold-weather race. Made sure I went to the loo en route to the starting line—always good to get this out of the way before flagoff. While waiting for the start I did my stretches thoroughly from head to toe, making sure that all the muscles in my body were thoroughly warmed up; something I had never done properly in my last five Marathons.

Before we knew it, “Advance Australia Fair” was being sung and off we went shortly after, along with about 7,000 other 42K contenders (turns out that Mini and I were part of history; with 6,218 finishers, the 2012 Medibank Melbourne Marathon is the largest in Australia to date!)


Coming up:

Friday, June 01, 2012

race review: Sundown Marathon 2012

Wrote this for the Freedom Freaks (my running gang here in SG) blog.

It's about the 2012 edition of Sundown Marathon, where I ran my 10K race #9 on May 26th, just 3 weeks after my fifth 42K race at Vancouver Marathon.


It was 9.30pm on the last Saturday in May. As soon as I got out of my air-conditioned ride, sweat started trickling down slowly but surely. 

Such a humid night! I tried to push this out of my mind, making my way to the bag-deposit place for the 10K runners. Dropping off my bag was quick and painless, so that was a good start.

Found some friends and as we headed to the starting pen together, we searched high and low for some drinking water. I went to the information booth and got glow sticks (cool!) instead. I asked the ladies behind the counter about the location of the nearest hydration station, and they told me it was right in front of the row of toilets near the starting pen.

The starting pen. Can you spot me?  =P

When we got there, we couldn’t see the hydration station. We asked two more people who were part of the Sundown Marathon crew and they both pointed to different directions. 

All we needed was water before the start of a race, and it was this impossible to get? Ridiculous. 

Overcome by thirst, we went to join the rest of the 10K runners and before we knew it we were on our way. I was really dreading having to tread boring ol’ Nicoll Highways three times (KM’s 1 to 5 with a u-turn at about 1.5K, and KM 8.5 until the finish) but I really wanted to get that 10K Sundown medal.

So, what can I say about a race that’s predominantly at Nicoll Highway that I haven’t already said before? It’s the same insanely monotonous stretch that’s usually hot hot hot, since there are hardly any trees on this long stretch of road that has become so popular with Singapore race organizers these days. And that night, even though Mr Sun had already gone to bed, was no exception. My body temperature shot up soon after I started running no thanks to the heat that was rising from the asphalt.

And seriously, having 6.5 out of the total 10 kilometres of your race on the same road is disgusting. I know Singapore is small, but it’s not THAT small! 

The super-boring 10K route

Anyway, once we hit Kallang Riverside Park things got a little dangerous as it was so poorly lit. I consciously slowed down my pace for fear of accidentally stepping on something unstable, which is fine by me as I wanted to take this race slow and steady. But I really sympathise with those people who wanted to run their best race and get a new PB.

The worst part of all was when they made us squeeze into a narrow lane to exit the park and get back onto Nicoll Highway at KM 7+. Runners basically had to come to a halt and queue two-by-two at this point. In the middle of a race!

I’m sorry, but why not use the set of stairs right next to it that led to the same place anyway? It’s wider and thus accommodates about four to five runners at once. By the time I got there, a couple of guys convinced the guarding volunteers to allow some of us through via these stairs. Of course, those stuck in the “queue” were cursing, but honestly I took the road less taken not to cheat but to not become a sardine in a can!

KL reprezent!  :)

All in all, I only did this race for two reasons: (1) to get back into running (since my Vancouver Marathon on May the 6th, I'd only run three very easy 5K's with the last one being nine days prior to Sundown), and most importantly, I realized that this was my chance to complete my trio of Sundown Marathon medals from three consecutive years.

At the 2010 edition, I ran my very first half-marathon (or pseudo-21K since it fell short by 3km or so). And the same weekend last year, I completed my most painful Full Marathon (my #2) in a PW timing of 6:16.

Will I run Sundown again? Most probably not. After three tries, I’ve realized that late-night races are just not for me!

My trio of Sundown Marathon medals ;)
L-R: 2010, 2011, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

race review : BMO Vancouver Marathon 2012

Wow wow wow, what a race!
As promised, the views of the spanking-new Vancouver Marathon 2012 course were magnificent. From gorgeous tree-lined neighbourhoods of Cambie and West 49 (imagine running underneath leaves of green and deep red), to the forest of Pacific Spirit Park (even spotted a raccoon!), and finally a stunning cityscape with a backdrop of majestic mountains and immensely gorgeous ocean view along the Stanley Park Seawall (although, having to run against the strong sea breeze from KM 31 to 38 was really challenging!). Words can't even describe how breathtaking it was! I really regretted not having a camera with me, for serious.

And to finally have a clear, sunny Spring morning after three days of rain? I truly felt blessed  :)

Malaysia & Shoe4Africa reprezent!

As for the race itself, I must give major snaps to the superb support from the crowd and volunteers. Although not as massive as the NYC Marathon, the Vancouverites who did come out never ceased to cheer us on.
But I gotta say that the killer rolling hills from the start through KM 14 were B-R-U-T-A-L. There even was a time when we were forced to go up up and up for almost 6K's straight (from KM 8 to 14), steadily climbing about 100m of elevation! This, of course, totally messed up my rhythm. And, worse still, the steep downhills was the beginning of my ankle trouble which stayed with me till the very end.

The calm before the storm...
So, how insane is it that I actually made a friend while walking to
the starting line all because we wore the same Running Skirt?  ;)

To make matters worse, my tumtum also started acting up early on in the game, but I refused to let it get in the way of my race. I was, however, very worried about how it would react to GU gels but thankfully my tumtum held up and eventually got better.
Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong, for the first time ever in a race I experienced cramps in my calves... At KM 39, no less! This was a major letdown as it prevented me from doing sprints towards the end. In the last mile or so, the cramping became so intense that it threatened to force me to quit running but I knew I had to just HTFU if I wanted a sub-5 finish.
So you can imagine my delight when I heard the emcee announcing my name and "4 hours 59 minutes XX seconds" as I was crossing the finishing line. Did I really make it?
Another metal to add to my collection. FYI I've got five 42K medals so far  ;)

Sadly, not according to the result page. Next to my details, the chip time read 5:00:28. I am absolutely gutted :( Why oh why does the official distance (read: NOT my Garmin's reading) have to be 42.59K? That extra 300-or-so-meters robbed me of my second sweet n' sublime sub-5 finish, man!!!  =P
Oh, well. Despite everything that happened today--coupled with my most challenging 42K campaign by far courtesy of (1) the return of an old injury to my right ankle in January, (2) my introduction to ITBS in February, (3) a course of antibiotics no thanks to a persistent cough, as well as a crazy gastric attack in March, and (4) spraining my already injured ankle just two weeks ago--I survived and for that I am truly thankful. 

On to the next one, I say!

Vancouver Marathon 2012... CHECK!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

t - 1 !!!

Just short video blog--my first ever!--on The Day Before The Vancouver Marathon  ;)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

t - 2 !!

And so it's been raining and raining and raining every morning and afternoon since I got here on Tuesday night (it is now Friday night in Vancouver). Today, though, it rained less and when I was out doing my final training run, I even had to endure a pretty strong glare from the sun towards the end. 

Everyone including the various weather predictors say that Sunday will be sunny(er) so I'm definitely gonna keep my fingers crossed. I have, however, gotten myself a water-resistant windbreaker just in case  ;)

Anyway, I am now bunking at my sister's pad while she and her kiddies are on a weekend getaway in nearby Victoria with my folks and other sister. Though I've been here on two separate occasions before this over the last four years or so, the view from her TV room still takes my breath away.

The breathtaking view from my sister's TV room

Burrard Bridge

From the other corner of her apartment, you can see the majestic Burrard Bridge, which will mark KM 29 of my 42K race this Sunday! Unfortunately, my family members will be cheering me on in spirit as they only get back from Victoria on Monday, but my bro-in-law and his mum will be waiting for me at the finishing line so all is good  :)

Anyway, I will end my post today with some photos from the last couple of days. Enjoy.

My sis was all smiles at the gorgeous sight of the Stanley Park Seawall.
I managed to trick her into doing her very first 10K at the very place
where I did my first non-stop 10K training run in Dec 2009. Sweet!

This breathtaking place will be my playground from KM 30 to 40 at the Vancouver Marathon this Sunday ;)

Inukshuk spotted!

Rania and Roen, my cheeky monkeys!  :)
With Queen Rania; this was the very first shot of me on this trip. Doesn't she look like me?  ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

t - 4

After a trying 24-hour journey--which included SG-KL-HKG-VANCOUVER flights as well as 3.5-hour layovers respectively at KLIA and Hong Kong International Airport--I am finally here. Phew!

The flight over this time around was pretty terrible for me. The travel-sickness pill didn't work, and so I was feeling nauseous a lot especially during the final-leg looooooong-haul flight. It's been a while since I've puked on a plane, and was rudely reminded of the feeling twice this time around  =P  Not fun.

It didn't help that the Cathay Pacific economy class seats are tres uncomfortable; I much prefer the ones on Qatar Airways as they somehow felt roomier. And, while CX had a superb range of entertainment choices on board, the earphones provided were so crappy that it was impossible getting the volume up to acceptable standards. Thank gosh for my white iPhone ones!

Also, someone somewhere stuffed up my Special Meal request and instead of normal vegetarian meal they went and ordered Hindu vegetarian ones for me. They were too rich and spicy for my liking and ended up upsetting my tumtum  :(  If you're wondering why I didn't just go with the Muslim meal option, it's because somehow airlines would usually serve lamb for this and me no likey lamb. 

By the way, I've since learnt the term Lacto-Ovo (or Ovo-Lacto) Vegetarian, which, in the Western world, is the norm for most vegetarians. It means a person who doesn't take any type of meat but consumes dairy products and eggs. In airline speak, they use the acronym VLML to indicate a Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Meal. I have amended my booking online for my return leg on the 18th, and will report on the taste factor then  ;)

Good morning from rainy Vancouver!

Anyway, it is now 7:42am and it's been drizzling since I woke up at 5ish. Although I'll be praying hard for a clear Sunday morning, think it's best to prepare myself mentally for a wet race-day.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

race review : Run 350 2012

Wrote this review for the Freedom Freaks (my running gang here in SG) blog

It's about the 2012 edition of Run 350, where I ran my Half Marathon #7 on April 22nd, exactly 2 weeks before my next 42K at Vancouver Marathon.

Because of this very reason, I thought long and hard from a week before the race and decided against going for a PB. This, for a simple but important reason: my research findings on the net told me to take it fairly easy so (1) my muscles will have enough time to recover, and (2) I won't bonk out during the Full Marathon. And I'm happy to have met my target of around 2.5 hours  ;)


"Run 350 is Singapore's premier eco-run in support of the global 350 movement, which aims to lower atmospheric CO2 levels to 350 parts per million, which scientists believe is the safe level for Earth’s sustainability."

In its third year running, the 2012 race took place on April 22nd, coinciding with Earth Day. Perfect!

And we're off! Can you spot me in the sea of 10,000 Half Marathon runners?  =P
(pic courtesy of Eye-See-Eye-Shoot)

Being a second-time participant (10K last year, and decided to try the spanking-new 21K category this time around), I totally enjoyed the race route despite most of it being reminiscent of the nightmarish 2XU Compression Run on April Fool's Day. The difference is that the race organizers this time around made sure the paths were wider so there was decent breathing space around. 

Each water point was well-stocked, the volunteers were terrific (some even crossed the running path repeatedly just to hand out water to runners on the opposite side), medal-collecting post-race was not painful, and the finisher shirt design for Half-Marathoners was awesome.

Good to know!
(pic courtesy of Run 350)

I especially appreciated the environmentally friendly tips on standees scattered all over the route. It truly gave me a "feel good" factor to be reminded all along the way that I'm running towards saving our beloved planet.

Can't really complain about anything except maybe for the shaky platforms placed over some grassy areas at around KM 7 or so. These caused quite a number of sprains and tumbles amongst the runners, including yours truly! Soon after I regained my balance, this poor chap took a big, nasty fall right in front of me. Where I tripped, two other ladies were already seated on the grass getting their ankles iced by the medic. Very, very dangerous! 

The dodgy platform! I'm still nursing a slight sprain to my right ankle as I'm writing this  :s
(pic courtesy of Tan Kim Lai)

Despite that one negative point, I am thoroughly glad that I ran this year's Run 350 race. Well done, Young NTUC! And not to forget, I gotta say thank you to Mr Sun for being very kind to us runners that day  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

happy tears alert !

"Nira, youre the most beautiful and kind woman I've ever met, thank you for the 7 years of friendship, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

These sweet words were uttered by one of my running kaki here in Singapore right after completing the hot hot hot 42K race at the BII Maybank Bali Marathon on Sunday.

Nyoman even got down on one knee--on his home soil, no less--before taking out the ring. Too sweet!

Congrats again, you lovebirds! And a big shout-out to Nyo for being such a romantic  ;)

My fellow SG DMers A-Team members, Nyoman and Agus, approaching the finishing line
(pic courtesy of Nyoman)

Aww  :)
(pic courtesy of Arianne Teresa Peligrino, a friend of Nyo's)

Nyo says that's "cloud number 7" (he meant cloud 9, hehe) behind them  ;)
(pic courtesy of Nira, the soon-to-be Mrs Nyoman)

the best goal celebrations ever

Gotta love The Birth and Fishing!  ;)  Dang, I miss playing futsal...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

somebody's gonna get hurt real bad...

... unless my good friends at The Comedy Club KL manages to coax Russell Peters to do another night in Malaysia!

Since selling out earlier this month, Singapore has added May 6th to RP's "Notorious World Tour 2012." And fans up north of the city state who missed out on tickets to his show at Stadium Malawati Shah Alam on May 12th (all tickets were snapped up in just 3 hours this morning!) have been begging for a second show in neighboring Malaysia as well.

A little hot-mama birdie has told me that The Comedy Club KL is "trying hard to add another [show]." Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can try your luck at winning some tickets by attending The Comedy Club KL's April shows which start tonight. Two tickets to Russell Peter's show in Malaysia will be given away each night, totaling to six lucky winners all in all. Click here for show and ticketing info. Good luck!


UPDATE (25th April)...

Russell Peters has finally nodded to a second Malaysian show on May 11th! 

Tickets will go on sale this Saturday April 28th @ 10am. Same prices as the original show: RM128, RM188, RM248, RM338 & RM438.

Organizers The Comedy Club KL have also announced the following:
"Tickets will be sold online and TicketPro and Redtix ticketing outlets. If you'd like to purchase online and doesn't have an account, please pre-register to either TicketPro or Redtix to ease the process. To reduce scalping, we only allow a maximum of 8 tickets per transaction. Thank you and we hope for a better experience in ticket purchase this time!"

Unfortunately, I can't get any tickets for anyone so consider yourselves warned!  ;)